Saturday, January 20, 2007

For those of you who thought the Bush Administration was coming around

Well, you should read the story, to which I was referred by a comment at TPMCafe. But, here are some tidbits...
The government's ability to understand and predict hurricanes, drought and climate changes of all kinds is in danger because of deep cuts facing many Earth satellite programs and major delays in launching some of its most important new instruments, a panel of experts has concluded.

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As a result, the panel said, the United States will not have the scientific information it needs in the years ahead to analyze severe storms and changes in Earth's climate unless programs are restored and funding made available.
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According to the report, NASA invested about $2 billion annually in Earth-monitoring missions from 1996 to 2001, but that figure, when adjusted for inflation, started a decline in 2002 and is projected to be $1.5 billion annually from 2006 through 2010. Since President Bush announced plans in 2004 to return astronauts to the moon and later send them to Mars, many involved with the NASA science program have warned that their efforts are being curtailed, and will be restricted further in the future.

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The problem at NOAA is different, and involves continuing and costly complications with its National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System. Initially conceived in the 1990s as the next-generation weather forecasting satellite for NOAA and the Defense Department, it is now three years behind schedule and as much as $3 billion over budget, according to the Government Accountability Office. In addition, the NSC report says, many of the weather and climate instruments that the satellite was supposed to carry have been dropped to keep costs from further increasing.
I knew that Mars program was worse than just a bad idea. I didn't suspect that it was specifically targetted at undercutting climate change research, but that's mostly because I'm a moron.

I don't have much to say about the article past its content, I just wanted to share a little outrage. So, there you go. There is this, though:
NOAA officials announced last week that 2006 was the warmest year on record in the United States -- part of a highly unusual warming trend over several decades that many scientists attribute to greenhouse gases. Some climate experts think that the atmospheric warming could bring more extreme weather -- longer droughts, reduced snowfall and more intense hurricanes such as the ones experienced along the Gulf Coast in 2005.
Many? Some? How about 'all ... not fellating the power structure.'

3 comments:

Nephos said...

I wonder if this is really all NASA's and NOAA's fault. If they keep pointing out things we really would rather not be hearing, don't they deserve to have their funding cut? What happened to not biting that the hand that feeds?

Nephos said...

Though this also reminds me that there is a flip side to this as well
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16593606/

Apparently those who say the planet is not warming, or that warming is a good thing, are losing their funding as well.

As I recently learned during a visit from my in-laws, perhaps the message is that along with not discussing religion and politics, weather is now off the books too.

Beth said...

I never shied away from any of those topics until lately. I used to enjoy listening to people who disagreed with me..it helped me clarify my own positions. But the world is such a mess right now and it seems so obvious that when I hear anyone say things like "some scientists disagree about the reality of global warming" I want to simply get up and walk out.